I really didn’t want to write todays hike summary. Usually I write these the day after I hike so that everything is completely fresh in my mind, but last weeks hike left me feeling disappointed and I did’t want to come across like I was complaining when I got to spend time in nature with a wonderful friend.
That being said, I also feel that it’s important to be transparent with all of you about my experiences, and sometimes that’s going to mean that they’re not dappled in pale golden light shining through the leafy green foliage. Sometimes they’re going to be filled with humidity and a touch of frustration. And that’s okay too, because the pictures I take are only half the story.
Whenever I plan to go on a hike I do my research. I look up trails, read their descriptions, find out how long they are and what to expect. It takes me about two hours to get to any of the trails, so I always look for something over 5 miles so that I spend as much time on the mountain as I do driving.
Last weekend’s trip was no different. On Thursday I did a quick google search and found a 6.4-mile trail that sounded perfect. The description said there were plenty of views and that it was a nice moderate hike. After cross referencing it on Alltrails and triple checking the directions – as I have a tendency to get lost driving- we agreed to head out around noon on Saturday.
When Saturday swung around Jess and I met up at my place and drove together out to the Blue Ridge Parkway to get our hike on.
We found the parking lot and started up the trail head. The first weird thing that happened was when we got to a sign splitting Beacon Heights and Linn Cove Trail into two separate trails heading in opposite directions. This seemed a little weird since the description I had read online said it was Beacon Heights to Linn Cove, so Jess and I elected to head up the Beacon Heights trail, figuring it would lead into our other trail as it was only marked as .8 miles to the top.
When we got to the top about 10 minutes later we were greeted with what I would soon find out was going to be our only view of the entire hike. That being said, it was beautiful. It would be a really great place to have a picnic if you’re ever driving through!
From there we walked along the top of the trail looking for the connection to our next trail but we couldn’t seem to find it. I asked a couple of girls who were hanging out off to the side if they knew where it was but they said there was no extension at the top.
Realizing we probably should have gone left at the sign instead and followed Linncove along the side instead of up, so we retraced our steps and headed that way.
About 20 minutes into our trek I was feeling a little confused since it didn’t seem like we were heading up any time soon. We got to a street and crossed over about a mile after our false start and ran into a couple who asked us if there were any views up ahead.
We told them about the view up ahead and how to get there and then asked where they were coming from and what the trail looked like.
“It’s a fun trail but there aren’t really any views” they told us.
It was at this point that I realized that this wasn’t going to be the hike I was hoping for. Trying to readjust my expectations from a beautiful albeit challenging six-mile hike to a rocky and technical trail with no views and nearly zero elevation.
It’s not fair to say that the trail wasn’t cool, because it really was; it was filled with rock fields some cool bridges, and a lot of technical obstacles. But it was hard not to feel disappointed. I was really looking forward to what we had planned and it felt like we were on a connecting path.
It was really frustrating to feel like I was letting Jess down and that we had wasted so much time driving here for a walk that took us just over two hours.
At our half way point we actually came up onto a parking lot with a closed gift shop. I ate some crackers with peanut butter and raspberries as a snack before we headed back.
Even though the hike itself felt disappointing the time I got to spend with a friend I hadn’t seen in a while was really wonderful, and it was a really great reminder for myself that even though I follow a lot of thru-hikers on Instagram who always seem to have picture perfect views, a lot of the journey is just walking in the woods.
It was a really great reminder for me, since essentially all of my adventures involve a summit, even if it’s shrouded in fog. While I won’t be doing this particular “hike” again probably ever. It wasn’t a total wash, and at the end of it all just being out in nature and taking a step away from the city was really great.
I do wish I knew where the trail we were supposed to be on was, or what happened to it; but I suppose that’s a mystery for another day.
Question: Have you ever experienced disappointment with a hike? How did you deal with it?